Paul Carr: At first it’s a little jarring to hear a relatively straightforward rock song from Radiohead after years of ceaseless experimentation. Years that have seen the band morph into something almost unrecognisable to the one that changed modern guitar rock music in the late 1990s. The acoustic guitar, the marching, straight drum beat all seem like forgotten keepsakes from past relationships. However, in the context of OK Computer, it retains that visionary beauty of a band attempting to deconstruct the notion of a rock band and replace it with something subtle and more textual. Thom Yorke manages to capture the alienation and existential dread of the end of the millennium but does so through the simplest of ideas—a deceptively straightforward vow to stick around and never leave. A gorgeous and welcome trip down memory lane. [9/10]
Latest Blog Posts
Said the Whale prove that love songs can be sincere without being cloying or desperately earnest with “I Will Follow You”, the new single from the band’s most recent effort, As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide. With verses built on declarations that find the intersection of hope and fear (while siding firmly with the former) and choruses meant to be sung with loud voices and deep enthusiasm, the song demonstrates the trio’s knack for writing pop songs that surprise even while expressing the familiar. Familiarity, the Vancouver-based trio reminds us, doesn’t have to be cliché.
Adriane Pontecorvo: Producer Kingdom and singer Shacar make for a potent duo on “Breathless”. For all its electronics and Auto-Tuning, the track feels naked and stronger for it. Shacar brings heartfelt expression to his performance, both visually and vocally, and Kingdom wisely keeps beats and instrumentation to a minimum, letting Shacar’s lithe voice rise, fall, and wind around the music as the star of the song. The result is a dream, but it’s not a sweet one all the way through—it’s a little surreal, a little tormented, and layered. A powerful low-key single. [9/10]
Mike Schiller: Lapalux does the smart thing here and gets out of the way for the vaguely Björk-esque vocals of JFDR, for whom this song is a lovely showcase. Backed by scattered pops and hisses over the simplest of beats and a slowly-layering tapestry of synths, JFDR doesn’t give us melodies so much as thoughts, a few words at a time, keeping us interested but never quite bothering with a proper hook. It’s lovely, the way a moderately populated sidewalk in the art district is lovely. [7/10]
“I love the contrast between chaos and stillness,” says Nina Ferraro, the artist behind BONZIE, “and how those two things can exist in the same place.” Premiering today on PopMatters, BONZIE’s brand new video for track “Crescent” from sophomore LP Zone on Nine captivates as it studies that tremendous dichotomy.
Chicago-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ferraro recorded “Crescent” in London with Ali Chant and Adrian Utley of Portishead. It makes for an audiovisual experience of fascinating extremes: glaring lights and total darkness, acoustic notes and electric edge, a lone woman and a vast array of machine parts. “I’m wearing only bodypaint in the ‘Crescent’ video,” notes Ferraro. “It took three people nine hours to suit me in paint!” Clad only in said paint, she aims unwavering stares that are as intense as her uncanny voice, which moves easily from calm and controlled to a wild high at the song’s climax. She is at once cerebral and raw, the stormy human experience embodied in song.